Agriterra supports the cooperative with training and advice, which is paying off. Thanks to more efficient financial management, Apropal booked a considerable fiscal windfall over the course of 2015.
Over the last few years, the management and the board have transformed the somewhat informal producers association into a professional cooperative. This has led to the following results:
The Apropal cooperative
The cooperative is active in the San Martín region, in the northern Amazon of Peru. In the past, this region suffered under the influence of terrorism and the drugs trade. Now, however, the region is flourishing: this is partly down to the local delicacy of palmito, the Spanish name for heart of palm. The 400 affiliated members of Apropal produce the raw material for this speciality. After harvesting, the heart of palm is processed in the cooperative's factory.
As a result of the regional government's decision to transfer a piece of land to it, Apropal's equity has grown and the cooperative was able to gain funding for the modernisation of the processing factory. Thanks to this investment, the cooperative now boasts the International Food Standard (IFS) certificate. This is beneficial when it comes to the selling price of hearts of palm.
Board members participated in training programmes and, via a study trip to Uruguay, connected with other cooperatives, their board members and managers. The newly appointed director, who joined in 2015, is steering the cooperative in a clear direction: an organisation with a social function and a long-term vision.
In 2015, the price of hearts of palm was subject to some pressure, but thanks to the professionalisation of the organisation, Apropal has the confidence to overcome this crisis.